Giving Public Easy Access to Officials

Late last year, Steubenville City Council agreed to require people desiring to speak during the public forum period of council meetings to register four days in advance. The vote was narrow, however: 4-3.

Now, with new council members having taken office, it appears a majority favors rescinding the rule.

They should do so.

It is understandable that council members and other city officials want meetings to be conducted in an orderly, efficient manner. Much has to be accomplished at some council meetings. Allowing anyone who wants to speak the liberty of doing so with no limits may not be wise.

Still, the four-day rule seemed an unnecessary curb on the public’s right to make concerns known to council, especially when they involved events that occurred after the deadline had passed.

Council members may want to consider some rules to ensure meetings do not degenerate into chaos. But those who want to keep their meetings as open to the public as possible have the right idea.